Stay alive, stay creative. A conversation with myself

I recently thought differently about something important to me. As its importance is only to myself, I would see it as an example of everyday creativity.

To share it with others, I posted it on Twitter, and started a note about the idea and how it began to suggest more ideas.

The note turned into a conversation with myself.

The tweet:

What’s the best way to retain your love of life? Give your everyday creativity every chance to flourish.

The conversation with myself:

At risk of sounding pretentious –

You are sounding pretentious.

I’ll ignore that remark

I found creativity early in my working life.

You are still sounding pretentious. Why don’t you add I suppose creativity found me?

So how should I explain what I mean?

Quit the health and wellness stuff. Get a bit more personal.

Good call. Let’s see. Take the time I was feeling a bit down on my birthday. Way down,

Understandable, it was your eightieth. Thoughts turning to shuffling off the mortal coil, no doubt.

Sort of. As if I was heading for a creative black hole. Yes, and the feeling of emptiness. Then I made a decision, And that led to another one.

Go on, that’s better

First, I’m going to give up writing books.
That’s the most negative thought you could have had.

Probably not. I had some other pretty black ideas. But then!

You rediscovered creativity and things started looking better.

Sort of. Instead of thinking what I wasn’t going to do in future, I saw what I was going to do.

You discovered podcasting.
That, and more.

I made the connection. Loss of creativity. Feelings of depression. Rediscovering creativity. Feelings of elation.
Feeling alive. Life’s worth living sort of stuff. In the zone. The inner child released.

A bit over the top?

That’s right.

It’s still a bit of a leap to start spouting about a life-enhancing moment.

I need to sneak in a few theoretical ideas which I’m finding important.

Now you’re getting away from your immediate direct experiences.

I was coming to that …

A study of Twitter for understanding the concept of Everyday creativity

In earlier posts, I suggested that everyday creativity amounts to a thought translated into actions. The millions of tweets generated every day, gives us an excellent laboratory-setting to study everyday creativity.
Let’s set aside bots generating tweets for the moment, as they can be considered as a special case.

Everyday creativity as thoughts translated into actions supports the proposal that creativity is widely distributed.
How are the thoughts produced leading to a tweet being published produced?

Let’s start from my own experience. Every day I sign up to Twitter. I usually have had a thought I want to share. Why do I want to share it? because the idea has that property of novelty to me which I want others to know about.

Do I wonder if anyone else has thought about it in roughly the same way? Not really, although I might wonder how many other people receiving much the same stimuli will have much the same reaction.
The impulse to share is easily gratified through Twitter. Press send. Off it goes.
It is then given the mystic treatment known as the Twitter algorithm which decides who will read the tweet. This is the ghost in the machine, to use an old expression.
The next steps involve other Twitter users evaluating my idea. They have several options. They can ignore it, or like it (touch the heart shaped button). They can also resend it, with or without commenting on it.
These actions are through which the tweet gains attention (popularity, if you like). The process, like a radioactive decay process can accelerate, and go critical. Or, to use another metaphor we know recently from epidemiology, go viral.
The vast majority of tweets remain sub-critical, but a few increase in numbers of interactions exponentially, a meltdown which sometimes crashes the program.
There is no obvious way of detecting the viral process from the first tweet. That suggests it is a random process. But the selection process isn’t necessarily random. It may capture a more general reaction of the tweeters encountering it.
Put these two basic thoughts together and you have an idea generation and development on based on random variation and selective choice.
Sounds familiar? It’s the process of evolutionary change.
Yes, as research students will point out, I’ve bobbed about between the specific and the general.

For example, what about the bots I mentioned earlier? Certainly important. The embarrassing flip-flop of Elon Musk in the withdrawal of his bid for Twitter was said to be that the company’s value could not be calculated without more information about the number of bots and the number and nature of the tweets they generated.

At best I’m offering an explanatory line of thought.

In my next post, I look at a specific example of an everyday tweet and how its study helps understand more about the nature of everyday creativity. I’d welcome any comments, particularly thoughts turned into actions. You can even tweet them, if that’s your preference.